15 Best GIF Makers

Edited by Ben Jacklin

April 14, 2021

By now you’ve no doubt come across a GIF, whether you knew that’s what it was called or not. On a basic level, a GIF lands somewhere between an image and a video, not exactly one or other but with features of both and having the major benefit of being small in size and not resource-demanding. More on that in the FAQs below.

No matter if you’re looking to add a little life to an article or email, action to an explainer piece, or just get a laugh by using one as a meme, GIFs are all the rage these days. So much so that when you pop open your messaging app of choice, you may find a built-in option to instantly send a GIF.

You might be wondering what programs to make GIFs are out there. Here we’ll take you through the world of GIF editing software and GIF programs for both Mac and PC as well as apps that make GIFs, highlighting the best GIF maker in each category.

Software

Compatibility

Impressive Features

Level

Movavi Video ConverterWindows and macOS

Easy to navigate interface

Batch conversion & ability to convert files to 180+ formats

Intermediate
GIMPWindows, macOS, and GNU/LinuxComprehensive image editingProfessional
SSuite Gif AnimatorWindows

Simple interface

Green software

Intermediate
GiftedMotionWindows, macOS, and GNU/Linux

No steep learning curve

Comes as a JAR file so no installation necessary

Beginner
ScreenToGifWindowsAble to create GIFs by recording what’s on your screenIntermediate
GIPHYWeb-based

Easy to use

One of the largest GIF search engines on Earth

Beginner
ImgurWeb-basedGIFs can be up to 60 seconds longBeginner
EzgifWeb-basedLoad up to 2,000 imagesBeginner
PicasionWeb-basedVery straightforward toolIntermediate
Make a GIFWeb-basedControl speed down to the millisecondIntermediate
PiskelWindows, macOS, and Linux

Niche, 8-bit look is very unique

Professional
GIPHYAndroid and iOS

Among the most intuitive interfaces around

Editor’s Choice on Play Store

Beginner
GIFXiOSCan make a GIF with sound in-appIntermediate
ImgPlayAndroid and iOS

30+ filters

20+ text animations

Beginner
GifMe!Android, iOS, and WindowsCan import GIFs from tenor to editBeginner

GIF Editor Software

Going with GIF editor software, rather than the online or app route, gives you a healthy set of features right on your desktop. Download it once, install it and have a reliable GIF creation software at your fingertips, with no need to be connected to the net. Moreover, software is designed to integrate into whichever system you use, creating an optimal experience.

If you’re looking for a GIF maker to download or a good GIF-editing program, consider these GIF editors for Windows, macOS, and more:

Operating systems – Windows and macOS

The latest edition of Movavi Video Converter is much more than just a powerful piece of GIF-making software. As the name suggests, it’s a dynamic tool for video conversion that allows you to convert video and media files at warp speed and transfer that video to any platform or device. You can also extract audio and images from videos with a click. Once you have what you need, you can rotate, crop, and merge video as needed all in the same place, which makes it a stellar GIF-making program as well.

Pros

  • Very quickly convert to over 180 formats
  • Batch conversion
  • Editing and conversion in one place
  • Intuitive interface
  • 200+ presets that cover all popular devices

Cons

  • Can’t add filters and stickers to GIFs
  • Watermark in the free trial version

Operating systems – Windows, macOS, and GNU/Linux

GIMP has been around for well over 2 decades making it an old standby as far as software goes. For those wondering, GIMP stands for GNU Image Manipulation Program, and as such it’s first and foremost an image editor. As far as comparisons go, think of it as being similar to Photoshop from Adobe. Because GIFs are essentially just animated images, GIMP is a stellar piece of freeware for that and more and one of the better free GIF editors out there.

Pros

  • Very refined image editing tools
  • Simple process for creating GIFs (see FAQs)
  • Open-source (free) GIF maker

Cons

  • Complex program to learn
  • Not as intuitive and can be confusing

Operating system – Windows

SSuite Gif Animator is straightforward, no-frills, free GIF editor software. With very little learning curve, you can be up and running creating GIFs, slide shows, and even basic videos with a few clicks. For those looking for simplicity, it doesn’t get simpler than this GIF maker software which is free to download for PC and takes almost no space on your computer. As green software, it’s designed to use the least resources on your system.

Pros

  • Can use on both 32- and 64-bit systems
  • Creates GIFs quickly
  • Unfussy user interface
  • No registration
  • Have an online edition in case you don’t want to download

Cons

  • Takes some time to learn to use effectively
  • Not many functions you have control over
  • Only supports JPG, JPEG, PNG, and BMP images
  • Unavailable on other operating systems

Operating systems – Windows, macOS, and GNU/Linux

With GIF right in the name, GiftedMotion exists for one reason; to help you make GIFs with ease. Developed by Onyxbits and also small in size, this too is a piece of free GIF-making software. As they mention on their site, in creating GiftedMotion they take the KISS approach (“keep it simple stupid”) and offer up a painless GIF creating experience.

Pros

  • Essentially no learning curve
  • Has a preview function
  • No need for installation, only requires adding the JAR to your desktop (requires Java)

Cons

  • Doesn’t support formats other than JPG, JPEG, PNG, and BMP
  • Slow to load large files

Operating system – Windows

ScreenToGif is a pretty nifty and clever program to make GIFs that allows you to create GIFs by recording your screen, webcam, or sketchboard. Put differently, you can turn what you’re looking at on-screen into a GIF in minutes. With basic editing controls built-in you can add the cuts you need and manipulate frames as necessary and, if need be, add an existing video or image into a project you’re working on. It’s another GIF maker that’s free to download.

Pros

  • Screen recorder lets you choose which part of your screen to record rather than the entire thing
  • Export to GIF, APNG, video, image, PSD, or a ScreenToGif project
  • Available in 24 languages
  • Open-source and available as portable so installing isn’t required

Cons

  • A little bit of a learning curve
  • Only available on Windows

There you have it, some of the best GIF maker software out there, whether it’s a GIF maker for Windows, Mac, or Linux, there are options to cover all bases.

And as you can see, GIF editor software runs the gamut of both complexity and functionality. When considering GIF-making software that makes sense for you, think about what you really need and your level of skill because some will require more time to learn than others. Whether it’s animation GIF freeware or something more premium, there’s surely one that fits your requirements.

GIF Makers Online

Perhaps you don’t make enough GIFs to warrant downloading some choice GIF-making software free or otherwise, that’s fair enough. Sometimes you want the convenience of jumping onto a website and getting it done that way, a GIF maker that’s online in other words. To make a GIF online, just pick one of the services below.

Among the best-known places on the web to get and create GIFs, GIPHY says they serve 10+ billion pieces of their content – GIFs, stickers, arcade, video, and more – to north of 700 million around the world. Even with seemingly endless GIFs, you can’t always find what you’re looking for, to that end, GIPHY is also among the top free GIF animators online.

Pros

  • Simple uploading module to create GIFs
  • Quite a bit you can add to edit video and images, like; animated caption, stickers, filters, and more
  • Can make GIFs with clips from YouTube, Vimeo, and many, many others
  • Seemingly never-ending supply of already made GIFs

Cons

  • Search can be tedious due to the abundance of content
  • Accepted formats for upload are only accepted as JPG, PNG, GIF, MPF, and MOV
  • GIFs can only be 15 seconds long

Launched in 2009, Imgur is another well-known online GIF maker. With a reach of over 250 million people per month and billions of views, you’ve likely crossed paths with content that was generated here. In fact, Imgur is a top 15 ranked site by Alexa.

Pros

  • Easy to use – click new post, then “video to GIF”, add your URL and trim
  • Also has a huge database of community-generated content
  • No need to make an account to use
  • Can make GIFs up to 60 seconds long

Cons

  • Limited file types supported for upload
  • Editing features not particularly robust
  • Load times can vary

Ezgif is much more like the free GIF maker software we reviewed above in that it's purpose-built for that, whereas GIPHY and Imgur have a community aspect. With Ezgif, you simply upload your files and make a GIF, it very much lives up to its name in that sense.

Pros

  • A high ease of use and no need for much tech-savvy
  • Supports more formats than other online options; GIF, JPG, PNG, APNG, HEIC, MNG, FLIF, AVIF, WebP, and others
  • Can handle up to 2,000 files
  • Has a “tips” section which offers great advice

Cons

  • Not many options for manipulating images

Picasion follows in the style of Ezgif; an online tool for producing GIFs on the fly. Without any bells and whistles, Picasion is about as to the point as it gets. You can upload images from your computer, a URL, or webcam and get going.

Pros

  • Very straightforward
  • No registration needed
  • Can also make create avatars and resize

Cons

  • Outdated, clumsy user interface
  • Can’t make GIF from a video
  • Limited functionality all around

Like Imgur and GIPHY, Make a GIF both hosts quite a lot of community-made GIFs and is also a place you can come to in order to make your own. You’ll find GIFs for inspiration and easy-to-follow instructions to turn your pictures and videos into GIFs.

Pros

  • Clearly marked guidelines for uploading right on the homepage
  • Can upload pictures, YouTube & Facebook videos, and your own videos and other GIFs
  • Intuitive controls

Cons

  • The free version includes a watermark
  • Need to use premium version to access certain stickers
  • The interface is clean but can be glitchy

Likely the most unique GIF maker on this list, Piskel is focused on pixel art, which the name hints at. Think along the lines of old-school Mega Man graphics. You can create “sprites” as they call them in their free online editor. They also offer a downloadable, offline version which is particularly convenient.

Pros

  • Online and offline versions – offline works for Windows, macOS, and Linux
  • Live preview of your animation as you make it
  • Open-source

Cons

  • Can only upload pictures
  • Really only meant for that 8-bit sort of look

For a one-off GIF now and then, an online solution will no doubt suit you well but what about for those on the move that still want the ability to make or find a GIF?

Mobile GIF Maker Apps

With a phone in everyone’s hand these days and half of the world’s web traffic being generated from mobile, it stands to reason that not only would you want to have the ability to make a GIF on the go but also that there would be some strong video to GIF apps available.

Luckily, there are, and we’ll take you through the best GIF makers for Android and Apple that can help you turn video into a GIF in-app and more.

Operating systems – Android and iOS

You already learned about GIPHY’s online tool above but did you know they have a GIF creator app too? Yes indeed, in addition to having access to their massive library, with this GIF animation app you can create GIFs in real-time. Plus, a whole host of other options, including some AR features. As a GIF maker app, GIPHY is a solid choice.

Pros

  • Same powerful tools as the online version for creating GIFs
  • Extra features like stickers and augmented reality
  • Integrates as a keyboard extension so you can add GIFs into conversations on iMessage, Facebook Messenger, and other apps
  • Editor’s Choice on Play Store

Cons

  • Can be glitchy on occasion
  • If you’re searching for a GIF, it could be tough to find what you want because of the sheer quantity

Operating system – iOS

GIFX is a GIF animation app geared more to the creative mind and lets you create GIFs with more artistic flair. It works by laying a GIF on top of your still image or video and a mask on top of all of that. They collaborated with 300+ artists around the world to create the GIF overlays and masks so your options are not only endless but top-tier.

Pros

  • Possible to bring in GIFs from your phone or GIPHY
  • 3 step process
  • Can create a GIF with sound

Cons

  • Not available on Android

Operating systems – Android and iOS

ImgPlay is another one of the apps to make a GIF that’s worth a look. With a sleek design and an intuitive layout, this animated GIF app shines with various filters, stickers, and editing capabilities as well that make it a strong choice.

Pros

  • Can shoot video in-app
  • 30+ filters and color correction for editing making for aesthetically pleasing results from this GIF photo app
  • Merge multiple videos into one

Cons

  • Has ads

Operating systems – Android, iOS, and Windows

GifMe! is a nice no-frills GIF animation app that lets you turn a video you shot on your phone into a GIF in no time. You can also create GIFs from imported photos and videos from your camera roll and apply filters, stickers, text, and borders.

Pros

  • Easy to use GIF editor app
  • Simple interface
  • Can import GIFs to edit from Tenor
  • It’s a GIF maker app for Windows phones – one of the few if you’re still using that type of phone

Cons

  • Options for customization are somewhat constrained
  • Not as intuitive as other apps

Regardless of the type of phone you use, there’s no doubt an Apple or Android GIF maker that will fit the bill for you.

Needless to say, you have a lot of great options to choose from with respect to apps, online editors, and GIF animation software, so find what works best for you and have some fun!

Ben Jacklin

Ben is a writer from the UK with qualifications in Media and Music Technology, he specialises in software reviews and tutorials. Ben has been blogging about media and tech subjects since he was a teenager from his base in the East of England.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a GIF?

For lack of a better way of putting it, a GIF is simply an animated sequence of images. It sounds an awful lot like video but there is a distinction that you’ll find below. Though there’s a good-natured dispute on pronunciation, what’s for sure is that it’s an acronym for Graphics Interchange Format. It’s a bitmap image format that was developed by Steve Wilhite of CompuServe over 30 years ago, back in 1987, to make animated images with the smallest file size possible and save memory.

How GIF works?

GIFs land somewhere in between video and still images, they’re not exactly one or the other. GIFs work by limiting the colors to a maximum of 256, to reduce file size, and are able to store more than one image file inside the GIF file itself, meaning you can think of a GIF more like a flipbook of images rather than an actual video.

How do I make an animated GIF?

Making a GIF is easier than ever nowadays with plenty of GIF-making programs, GIF-making software as well as apps being readily available. In terms of software and programs to download you have options like GiftedMotion and SSuite Gif Animator on the more direct side and tools like GIMP that give you much more creative control. Online editors like GIPHY and Ezgif also make GIF making a sinch, with no need to download a program.

How do I make a GIF with sound?

By strict definition, GIFs don’t have sound but that doesn’t mean you can’t make something that’s essentially the same thing. To create a GIF with sound, you’d really be making an animation or short video clip. The way how to make a GIF with sound is by using an editing program that allows you to add an audio track to your GIF and export it as a WebM, a file that can be played on web browsers, or MP4, a standard video file.

Can I make a GIF with my iPhone?

You sure can! Making them on your phone is generally an easy process no matter which GIF maker app you decide to use. You can turn images or videos to GIFs in a matter of a few quick steps. Apps like GIPHY, ImgPlay, GIFX, and more allow you to not only convert your content into GIFs but enhance what you upload with text, stickers, filters, and other overlays.

How do I turn a picture into a GIF?

GIFs are primarily thought of as being made from video clips and most of the time that is indeed the case, however, it is possible to make them from images. Essentially all the GIF-making programs you come across from GifMe! to Imgur to Make a Gif will let you start building GIFs from an image.

As far as filetypes though, you might find yourself limited. Conversion software like Movavi Video Converter is an excellent option because it allows you to convert over 180 media formats, including essentially any image format you can think of, and turn them into GIFs.

How do I download a GIF from GIPHY on a PC?

Sometimes you either aren’t in the mood to make a GIF or you know exactly what you’re looking for and find yourself on the massive GIPHY database. How to download a GIF from GIPHY on a PC or Mac once you’ve found what you want is effortless. To download from GIPHY, just right-click on the GIF, click Save image as and rename it to whatever you want since the default filename that comes up will likely be “Giphy”.

How do I edit GIFs in GIMP?

GIMP is a formidable image editing program and as such can seem complicated but using GIMP as a GIF maker or editor doesn’t have to be a brain buster. Here’s a quick step-by-step guide on how to edit GIFs in GIMP.

  1. Click Open in the File menu and select your GIF, the individual frames of your animated GIF will be made into their own layer.
  2. Select the frame you want to edit.
  3. Make your edits.
  4. Continue with steps 2 and 3 until you’ve finished making changes.
  5. Go back to the File menu and click Export As, click GIF image and check the box for As animation.